Let the games begin!

We got the call this morning that a Day 3 transfer was in our future. Sure we would have loved a Day 5, but since I have advanced maternal age at the ripe old age of 35 1/2 (HA!), the clinic’s protocol is to go with a Day 3 transfer if there aren’t five 6-cell embryos. I had four 8-cell and two that were 5-cell. So, I just missed the cut-off. Oh well. Lucky for us, we had some choice this time. We were also part of a new study that takes pictures and video of the embryos growing, and gives a recommendation as to the healthiest ones in the batch. So with some choice and some added information, we decided to return two, grade 1 embryos to their homeland. The winners were embryo A and embryo E. From here on out, they will be referred to as Arturo and Eva. My dad thinks this is a little wacky, but I figure I should start talking to the kids as they settle in for a lengthy lease.

We did have lots of conversation about how many embryos to put back in. We are fortunate to have a doctor whom we not only respect but we also trust. He suggested two so we’d hopefully have more to freeze. Why waste a good one if all three took, was his theory. I like that. We would also be prepared (if you can be) for twins. Triplets, no way.

I saw my acupuncturist directly after my visit and have been instructed to eat pineapple daily until Sunday, and chicken once a day until my pregnancy test. I spent lots of time on the couch, watched some bad tv, napped, and otherwise told Arturo and Eva to enjoy the new location.

As I think back to my last cycle and the two week wait, I have vowed to do some things differently. I know that as my blood test date approaches (7/23) I will get anxious and crazy, but I’m hopeful some changes along the way will help me cope with the uncertainty.

1. I will not google. Well, I’ll google things like yelp reviews and stupid baseball stats and funny videos, but nothing fertility related.

2. I will do my best to embrace any and all symptoms I experience. I already have some mild and wacky cramping from the high dosage of progesterone I’m on (all confirmed normal by my doc), but bloating and boob soreness and anything else will just be part of the experience and not a sign of something bad or good.

3. I will meditate for one hour each day. I made myself a playlist comprised of some really great music my yoga teachers play. I listened to it prior to retrieval and during the transfer, and it really soothed my nerves. I have a space all set out for my meditation, some embryos to focus on, and some baby dreams to have!

4. I will practice gratitude daily. In each of my yoga classes when the teacher asks us to set an intention I say the same thing: gratitude in my thoughts, gratitude from my lips, gratitude in my heart. I have said this in every class I’ve attended since joining the local studio, and gratitude is something I strongly believe in. Regardless of what life throws us all, we must be grateful for what we have. Especially during this period of uncertainty and wait, it is gratitude that will lighten my burden. I realize I sound like a complete hippie nut job, but I’m ok with that.

For my first act of gratitude, I want to thank all of the ladies who read this blog and cheer me on. As I told my husband this morning …. if I only had the women in my real life (both colleagues and friends) you would think having a baby was as easy as getting dressed. So, it was on-line and among strangers that I learned that I was not alone. This is a gift I can never thank you enough for.

More to come. Eva and Arturo say hello!

dfb

Grapes In My Belly

My final pre-retrieval ultrasound went well. My lining has been glorious. My ovaries have been working hard. My blood work is on target. I now know all of the nurses at the clinic … and there are many. I’ve also seen my acupuncturist four times this week. I now have his cell phone number. It’s funny how IVF will bring strangers into your family as they all hope, we all hope, that our efforts will result in a baby.

So here are the gritty details: the doctor is hoping for eight eggs. There’s a chance it could be ten, but eight would be fabulous. Last time around I had four follicles and one was empty, so that gave us three eggs. Not good. This time we have way more follicles. It’s just that only 8-10 will be ready. There are some stragglers who won’t make it. (Did you know a ready-to-go follicle is the size of a grape?) I know that we have done everything we can to make this successful. My body is rested, a little heavier (ugh), a little more hormonally balanced. I have been at ease with everything in the process and am ready for what comes next. But, right now I am currently waffling back and forth between feeling great about how much better this cycle has been and feeling awful as we move out of the honeymoon phase and into the waiting phase of this process. I even bagged out of a BBQ today so I could stay home and watch RomComs all afternoon. I know I’m also remembering the last IVF and what happened after retrieval. I don’t want to focus on that, but it’s hard to forget such an intense emotional experience. So my goal for the next few days is to use that experience to drive me forward. To help me keep things in perspective. To remind me that life is good, and will be good.

I have my dorky meditation CD ready to go. I’ve got great books on my Kindle. Tickets to a ballgame tomorrow. Some dinner with friends. Plenty of small things to keep me busy.

Trigger comes at 8 P.M. It’s go time.

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My last supper

This was it. Except mine was reheated leftovers from the night before. I had visions of my last pre-IVF meal being a hot dog with pop chips. It came to me in yoga class. The salt, the deliciousness of a good all-beef hot dog. The guiltless pleasure of pop chips. But when I got home and realized we had leftovers, I decided to dive into those instead. I hate throwing away food. And to go with my tasty reheats: two glorious classes of wine. I had previously promised myself that after a dinner party last Saturday night I would cease drinking alcohol. But then we had an amazing meal on Tuesday, and a crisp white wine was in order. So with the hubby away at guys night chomping on steak and kicking it with some high class bottles of wine, I decided to partake a bit myself. Not the best combination, reheated chinese and merlot, but it was delicious.

I lied in my previous post. Sorry. I actually inject the cetrotide today. Then I have to wait for CD1 at which time I call the doc and head in for my baseline ultrasound. Then the big meds begin. I feel both at ease and emotional about this second try. I now know that there are two outcomes: pregnancy and no-pregnancy. The first time around I expected only one. I know the routine of the meds, the sting of the needle in my ass cheek, the acne that will burst forth onto my face with the strength of ten hormonal adolescents, the weird satisfaction I get from injecting a tiny needle into my belly because it reminds me that I am stronger than I think I am. But then there are the emotions, the unknowns, the moments of grey and waiting and hoping and forward thinking. Those are the things that will drive me into the ground. But at least I know that’s coming.

So, after a fabulous last supper and an amazing last pre-IVF day (which included a 3-run walk-off home run at the baseball game I went to), I’ve decided I’m going to swing away. For you non-basebal lovers, this means I am going to step up to the plate and not worry about where I’m going to hit the ball. I’m not going to bunt. I’m not going to question. I’m going to drive the ball as far as I can and with everything I have. I have taken six months off of running, I have thrown myself into yoga and meditation, I have been drinking my mud martini twice a day (chinese herbs), going to acupuncture, visualizing myself giving birth, seeing Hubby as a father, thinking all the right things. And now, I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to swing away and come up pregnant. There, I said it.

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Imagination Cul-de-sac

I am not crazy, but today I heard something profound. It didn’t come in yoga or in some great piece of literature. Rather, it came from a 45 second clip I heard on NPR. Some musician was talking about the power of the imagination and how we can imagine the path before us. The problem with most of us, he said, is that we’re in an imagination cul-de-sac. This got me thinking. I don’t believe that everything I want is out there. I’m not pessimistic; I’m just a pragmatist. I also don’t believe I can “call in” everything I want if I focus hard enough. I’m not lazy; I just know that bad shit does happen to good people … like me and all the other infertile girls I know. So why did this idea of an imagination cul-de-sac strike a cord? Well, I think it did because I’ve been in an infertility cul-de-sac for more than two years. And I’m ready to break out. I know that this desire to break out comes with some risk. My breakout might include kids or it might not. Both options come with their own pros and cons, but, regardless, I’m just tired of where I am. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for our baby-making efforts. We’ve put a lot of time and energy and money into it, too, and we’re ready to move. (Not to go all English teacher on my readers, but this is what James Joyce focused most of his work: stuckness.) We’re ready to be somewhere else. Aren’t you?

Here’s to a new road map, a new street, a new neighborhood. Here’s to a road that doesn’t involve a turnaround or a dead end. Here’s to the certainty that anything, everything is better than being stuck in the land of if. Here’s to using the word when.

dfb

 

An epiphany

It has been more than two weeks since my last post (I like to call this period Radio Silence) and while not much has changed, so much has. Really. I can’t really pinpoint when this change happened, but here’s what led to my little epiphany …

1. I did a guided meditation with my therapist about facing my fears around infertility. It was a practice focused on letting go and stepping into myself more fully. Now, I feel a bit funny talking about this as I like to think of myself as a fairly self-aware woman. I’ve had my share of tragedy and glory, joy and sadness, and with each day I know myself even more. But this process, this 45-minute guided meditation was amazing. I woke up more relaxed and more at ease.

fast forward three days …

2. At my school I’m required to partake in an end-of-the-year project, and my husband and I take a small group of seniors backpacking. The other adults in my group are new to the program, so initially my husband and I were asked to split up and go with other leaders. That wasn’t going to work because we were going to try an IVF cycle this month, and I couldn’t administer the meds myself. We shared some basic info with the other adult leaders, which led one of the other teachers to send me this email: “I don’t want to pry, but are you and hunny going through fertility treatments? That’s how I conceived M, and if I can be of any support to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. It’s not a pleasant experience, and it’s not to be experienced alone. And you must remember that regardless of the outcome, you will live a fabulous and full life.”

For the first time in more than two years, since before we started aggressive fertility treatments, I actually believed what my colleague said. I know that no matter what happens in June and July and beyond, we’ll be ok. I feel silly that it took two things as simple as guided meditation and an email from a colleague, but ever since those few days there has been a clarity to my thought and a balance to my emotion surrounding IVF and infertility. It’s like I let go of something enormous, something that has been plaguing my life. Don’t get me wrong, things are not all peachy in the land of baby … I am not pregnant and we have an IVF cycle looming in the distance. But I feel like I can see the other side regardless.

If I become a mother, I am ready. If I do not, I will be ok.

Here’s a poem that was also a part of the process for me. So fitting as I’m an English teacher. So fitting as I’ve taught this poet so many times but had never read this one until last week.

I Worried
by Mary Oliver
I worried a lot.  Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?
Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?
Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.
Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?
Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up.  And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.
Here’s to giving up the worry. Here’s to singing each and every day!
dfb